Fons Trompenaars and Adrian Borggreve Lecture on Cultural Differences in Business

Fons Trompenaars and Adrian Borggreve Lecture on Cultural Differences in Business

WUAS students learn about the various dimensions of culture in business

In a thought-provoking online lecture held on 27 September, Fons Trompenaars, Dutch organisation theorist and the founder/director of the intercultural management consultancy Trompenaars Hampden-Turner, treated Wittenborg students to insights into the complicated world of cross-cultural business dynamics. Trompenaars, known worldwide as a motivational speaker, consultant, trainer and author of several acclaimed books on culture and business, shared his expertise on this topic. 

After an introduction by Lecturer & Guest Lecturing Coordinator Fjorentina Muco, Trompenaars started the lecture, "A Cross-Cultural Dialogue - Reconciliation Process in Business", by addressing the different cultural approaches to running businesses and the nature of shared cultures. He explored the difference between working for companies from all over the world and highlighted the profound influence of culture on our lives, values and norms. 

Seven Dimensions of Culture

Since Wittenborg is an institution where students and staff of more than 100 different nationalities work together, many regularly interact with people from different cultural backgrounds. While such interactions can be enriching and enlightening, they can sometimes also lead to misunderstandings and communication errors. It is essential to understand the differences between cultures in order to work effectively and foster harmonious relationships.

The seven dimensions, as identified by Trompenaars and Hampden-Turner in their book "Riding the Waves of Culture", serve as a roadmap for understanding and navigating cultural variations, covering topics such as universalism versus particularism - the difference in how rules are implemented and followed in different cultures, individualism versus communitarianism - how in some cultures, personal success and achievements are emphasised more, while in others the value of the group takes precedence over that of the individual, and performance versus attribution - where people are valued for their performance, regardless of position or rank.

Fons Trompenaars and Adrian Borggreve Lecture on Cultural Differences in Business
Adrian Borggreve gives an lecture to the students of Wittenborg.

A Deeper Understanding of Different Norms and Values

A week after Trompenaar's lecture, Wittenborg had the honour of welcoming Adrian Borggreve, emeritus senior lecturer in Conflict Management Intercultural Management and Research Methods at Saxion University of Applied Sciences, to share his knowledge with students. In his lecture, he delved into the topic of cultural diversity in a business environment, continuing Trompenaar's argument.

Borggreve's and Trompenaars' thought-provoking lectures gave the students an insight into how companies work in different countries and cultures. It will help them understand other values and norms much better than before, which is essential to work in business abroad or as an entrepreneur on an international level.

WUP 11/10/2023
by Niels Otterman
©WUAS Press